In conversation with Purds from ‘Rejected by Management’

Written by Aaron Roden.

When enlisted by Lo-Tide executive powers to report on electronic music, my incentive was satisfied after turning my attention to Purds, co-founder of local collective Rejected by Management, for 20 responses to 20 questions I could explore his insight with. 

Rejected by Management have indulged admirable togetherness in the nightlife of Stoke-on-Trent; a testament to the charisma which makes them tick.

They have championed a provocative variety of dance & urban music – namely drum and bass – to a positive reception in city centre venues on numerous occasions. 

It was Lo-Tide’s privilege to discover a bit more:

Photo Credit: Joseph Martin

Q. Who are the constant features of the Rejected by Management crew?

Purds: “The crew’s made up of myself, Lovatt, VKO, Jukes, Lomo, Bag-A-T, GKT and Keez on the decks and mic. S Man makes regular appearances too, which is always welcome! Got to give a mention to Bee too, who hooks us up with Rejected merch & stuff!”

Q. What are the influences behind Rejected by Management?

P: “Rejected has been mostly influenced by the wider drum and bass scene, and the vibe we’ve found that people move to in the club. We’re always on the look out for fresh tunes and fresh talent, and we like to get up and coming artists from around the North behind the decks and on the mic. Everyone brings their own flavour to the party, seeing them do their thing and how the ravers react shapes the nights. There’s a lot of really good music out there, and we love bringing it to the people.”

Q. How’s Rejected been surviving 2020?

P: “Obviously live events are off the cards, and we haven’t looked into doing any sit-down events because it doesn’t seem right for D&B! We’ve been doing the odd live stream to keep pushing some of the Rejected vibe out. Some of the crew have been focusing on other avenues like producing, art & stuff. I think it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to getting back into the club though.”

Q. How long have you been DJing & putting events on for?

P: “I’ve been DJing for about 5 years now. I started learning in my living room on a cheap controller, then eventually started playing fairly small, invite-only raves – usually in underground locations. The first one I played at was underground in a quarry, dressed as a dinosaur-pirate and was pretty wasted. There were some mental scenes, it was amazing! But I wanted to get something more regular & legit going, especially after having our equipment confiscated one time. So we’ve been running Rejected for just over 2 years as a result, and doing other bits on the side too, such as Techno Mercy”

Q. What attracted you from the north to Stoke-on-Trent?

P: “Lovatt lives in the area, and we used to head into Hanley now and then for a drink and some tunes. We came across Basement (where we run our nights) when we went to a techno event called ‘Load’. We liked the place and got chatting to the right people, and Rejected was born. I love running the nights in Stoke because the underground scene is really good! The musical community live for the music, and it’s a tight scene that’s welcoming and inviting. The ravers are always up for a good time, whether it’s a quiet night or it’s packed. I’ve met a lot of really sound people, and I’m drawn in.”

Q. Favourite Rejected night?

P: “For me it’s a toss up between our 1st birthday and NYE 2019/20. Both nights were amazing – we had strong crowds and the vibe was ridiculous on both nights. The energy of the ravers and performances from the artists were amazing. Truly memorable stuff. We packed the line ups on both with some heavyweight artists and all the residents. For the birthday bash, we had two venues moving into one later on – and for NYE we had 2 rooms open with other underground genres upstairs. We had other local crews involved bringing their own sounds to the dance which was awesome, and made it a collective effort. That brings us back to why I love putting on events in Stoke.. there isn’t competition between promoters; we work together to make the best events we can.”

Photo Credit: Joseph Martin

Q. Any new collaborators you wish to pursue?

P: “There are a lot of artists I’d like to get playing at Rejected nights and would love to have a session with. I’ve always fancied getting DJ Hybrid down for a proper jungle rinse-out, and Samurai Breaks for some heavy footwork sounds. We also had various artists on the cards for earlier in the year, until lockdown hit – artists such as Warhead, Coda, PRFCT Mandem, Rival Technique and Madrush. We’ll see what happens in the future when nights can get up and running again.”

Q. Any gear you would like to add to your current setup?

P: “I’d love to add a fourth deck; I mix on 3 quite a bit. Or use the 3rd deck to have a track cued for a quick transition between 2 tracks, while keeping the 3rd rolling. But a fourth would be ace for back-to-back sessions.”

Q. What has lockdown inspired most: your mixing, track selection or haircut?

P: “I think lockdown has inspired my track selection more than anything, because I’ve found myself dipping into all my old tunes that I’ve not played out before. It’s been a great way to uncover and re-discover some absolute gems, and no doubt some of them will make it to my sets in the club. The haircut situation has been absolutely horrendous thanks to some clippers, a shaving mirror sellotaped to a tripod, and not realising how short you’re about to go until it’s too late!”

[Aaron and Purds break into a light chuckle]

Q. What are your thoughts on live streaming?

P: “I like live streaming; it gives people a platform to show their talent and knock out some fat tunes.. what’s not to like? For me personally, streaming has been a great way to enjoy DJing while being able to chat with mates who I’ve not been able to meet up with for ages, so it’s been a good thing! However – there are a lot of streams going on lately for obvious reasons, so social media feeds do feel a bit saturated sometimes. I can’t wait for club nights to come back!”

Photo Credit: Ash Histon

Q. Does the time of day influence your creativity?

P: “I find evenings and weekends are the best time to get creative. Especially when you can get together with mates & get behind the decks on a weekend. You can get a lot of energy and ideas from having a decent mixing session, even if you’re just messing about!”

Q. Roughly how many tunes do you accommodate in a slot? 

P: “I’d guess I get through maybe around 30-40 tunes in an hour slot, depending on how quick I’m mixing & stuff. Obviously some tunes need to be played out a bit, but I do love smashing out some quick, sharp transitions and layering elements of a few tracks together!”

Q. Can you recall your first DJ set?

P: “First DJ set.. As mentioned it was quite a mad one – there were maybe 80/90 people in a disused underground network of tunnels. The vibe was amazing. And there was some questionable stuff going on involving heavy machinery, I’ll say no more..”

Photo Credit: Ash Histon

Q. Any hobbies beyond music?

“I’ve had a few hobbies over the years: urban exploring, photography, caving. But recently I’ve been focused mostly on DJing and promoting. I do all the artwork for flyers and videos myself so it takes up a fair amount of time! During lockdown, I’ve had time to put all of my photos into a series of books, which has been a long time coming! Also, I’ve started dipping into music production, but nothing serious.”

Q. Can we expect any forthcoming ‘original Purds material’?

P: “I’ve been playing about with a bit of production, although I don’t intend on taking it too seriously or anything. But I’ll probably have a few of my own tracks to throw down in my club sets, in the future!”

Photo Credit: Joseph Martin

Q. Would you run your own club?

P: “I’d love to own and run my own club in the future – it’s something I’d do if I ever got the opportunity, for sure. It’s a bit of a dream for me, but someday it may come true.. We’ll see.”

Q. Where would you like to play overseas?

P: “I haven’t thought too much about playing overseas, but it’d be cool to smash out some sets in some dark, dirty club in Berlin or something. Or in Gashouder.. That place looks incredible.”

Rejected by Management kindly recommend Amoss’ ‘South of the River’ mix. Listen below:

Q. Is there a mix in particular that you yourself would recommend?

P: “For me it’d be ‘FABRICLIVE 84: Dub Phizix’. It was the inspiration for me learning to DJ…and is fucking sick.”

‘FABRICLIVE 84: Dub Phizix’ is available below:

Q. How will you embrace 2021?

P: “I think the key thing will be to make the most of the nights we put on, and try and push them to be bigger and better. Everyone is gagging for a party at the moment and I think the scene is going to go crazy once venues can re-open. Also, I’m going to try and get to more events myself – and see some of the artists I’ve wanted to see for a while! Bring it on, it’s much needed!”

The urge to escape a year of damage & confusion in Britain only grows with the prospect of these individuals having more to offer…

Written by Aaron Roden

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